Young Adult Author Barry Hoffman Continues to Donate Books to Schools Nationwide:
Books given away to date: 11,345!
New York, NY: Barry Hoffman believes that adolescent and teenage girls need to read books where there are positive role models with which they can identify. He has written all three Shamra Chronicles young adult novels—Curse of the Shamra, Shamra Divided, and Chaos Unleashed —with the hope that girls will latch onto Dara as an independent, increasingly mature young woman, rather than reading novels where the main female character is submissive and subject to the whims of the boy over which she obsesses.
“Dara is given little voice or respect by her own people, but when life is turned upside down, she steps up and ascends to a leadership role with courage, vision, and hope,” Barry explains. “I think girls need role models like Dara.” Barry feels that it is equally important for teen boys to have these examples of strong young females in their lives.
Moved by the students he taught for thirty years in the inner-city classrooms of Philadelphia, Barry wanted to give back to his students and find a way to bring stories of strong women into the classroom despite the cutbacks that made it hard to purchase new books for the classroom.
Inspired by President Obama’s “United We Serve” campaign to give back to the community in 2009, Barry set out to donate 10,000 copies of his young adult novel Curse of the Shamra to schools and other educational institutions nationwide in an effort to advance literacy among the underprivileged.
So far, Barry has provided copies to thousands of young readers in classrooms (75% of them Title I schools), homeless shelters, Native American reservations, libraries, military families, Girl Scouts and other organizations with a Young Adult audience, emergency groups, and individual homes in low-income areas across the country; his contributions so far total over $160,000 in classroom resources. He has already surpassed his 10,000 giveaway goal, donating 11,145 copies of The Shamra Chronicles to date!
Hoffman views his contribution as a way to expand academic resources in a time when many schools nationwide are experiencing devastating cutbacks both in personnel and classroom resources, especially schools in low-income areas.
Barry also conducted an Author in Residence program in 2009 and 2010 at classrooms in Colorado. The students all received free copies of Curse of the Shamra, and Barry led weekly discussions about characters, plot developments, choices made and their consequences, along with discussing critical thinking and writing skills. The project culminated with student projects and essays. To see examples of the students’ feedback click here.
Here’s what educators and parents have to say about Barry’s giveaway program:
“Thanks for your generous response! Here at Weeks Middle School (alas, like many schools) we are accustomed to doing a lot with very little in the way of materials. When one is offered a classroom set of FREE materials (which is VERY rare), one is hesitant to push one’s luck. And having the kids KEEP the books??? …what a radical and welcome concept!!! …virtually unheard of in this profession!”
– Robert Klimowski, Weeks Middle School
“The package arrived today!! Brooke was thrilled!! She really loved that you signed the book! She said ‘Wow I must be famous too!!’ Again thank you so much! You have just made her so happy. Most kids go to Walmart and want toys — you take Brooke she wants books!”
– Denise, on behalf of her daughter, Brooke
“I wanted to read this book before I allowed any of my students to read it and I absolutely LOVED it!!The whole adventure was very captivating and the whole “girl power” was great! The whole plot kept me interested in what was going to happen next and I can’t wait to read the next edition… I do appreciate your work and you have just acquired a new fan!!”
– Marci Heaton, Educator
“(We) loved Dara’s story and courage. The embedded messages of empowerment and change really struck home for our small town. I believe many youth will be talking about your Shamra soon and that their small world will be a model for all who cling to the past without looking for the good the future has to offer.”
– Vicki Bleak, Title 1 Educator, Camp Verde Schools
If you are a school or special group interested in being considered for the book giveaway, please email author Barry Hoffman at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide the following information in your query:
•Name of Organization
•Address of Organization
•Website (if applicable)
•Number of books being requested
•A brief explanation of the purpose of your organization
•A brief explanation why your organization should be eligible for the free books, and what you plan to do with the books you receive.